By Marlee Ginter

ELK GROVE (CBS13) –  A sudden turn in the murder case of an Elk Grove teen has his family speaking out.

Nineteen-year-old Seth Smith was gunned down while away at college at UC Berkely.

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“He was just a good kid. And it doesn’t make sense why someone would do that. I’m very, very much needing to know why,” said Seth’s Mom, Michelle.

That’s the question that’s haunted Michelle Smith for nearly two years. Seth was shot in the back of the head while walking near his Berkely apartment in June 2020. Two months later, police arrested 60-year-old Tony Lorenzo Walker – a complete stranger.

“For me to get closure, I definitely need, kind of, a narrative as to what happened. It’s just a huge mystery in my life right now and very difficult,” said Michelle.

Michelle worries that the mystery may never be solved. She recently learned that there will be a plea deal Monday instead of the case going to trial. Walker may or may not explain what happened that night in what’s called an allocution.

“They basically said that they’re accepting the plea deal and that it was their choice and not ours,” Michelle told CBS13. “If the allocution happens, that will be the only narrative of any kind that I will get as to what ended my son’s life.”

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Local defense attorney Justin Ward says it’s unlikely Walker will give a statement. Ward says there’s no benefit or reason for a defendant to give a statement unless it’s required. Bottom line, the plea deal guarantees prison time and, overall, public safety.

“This family wants closure but protecting the public is really the number one priority of the district attorney,” Ward told CBS13.

“Every day we cry a little bit. And we think of him always,” said Michelle.

Michelle can now only hope she’ll get a bigger picture of what led to her son’s murder, knowing it won’t bring him back but may ease the pain.

“I was anticipating time off and to hear the evidence, hear the witnesses and find out more of the story of what happened. And with a plea deal we don’t get that,” said Michelle. “It’s just this constant mystery, questioning. What could I have done to help him, warn him, anything.”

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